This post is the first in a 4-part series of simple ways to think about maximizing your enjoyment of labor by remembering how to do it like the “PROS”:
pleasure (noun)- 1. a feeling of happiness, delight, or satisfaction, 2. sensual gratification: gratification of the senses, 3. recreation, relaxation, or amusement, especially as distinct from work or everyday routine
The benefits of pleasure in labor:
-pleasure sensations can help “shut the gate” to the uncomfortable sensations of labor
-many things which cause pleasure also increase oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is the hormone which drives labor progress AND brings on relaxed, loving feelings. (We’ll get into it more in the third part of the PRO series.)
-pleasurable feelings aid in the ability to relax which can greatly decrease pain.
-pleasure shifts our perspective of the sensations of labor.
Grab a pencil and paper and jot down whatever thoughts come to mind about the following questions:
What brings you pleasure? (Think about your five senses.)
Touch: (think texture and temperature)
What makes you laugh/smile?
What other things make you feel good, happy, or satisfied?
Now, using the list you’ve made, think about what sorts of supplies you can have on hand to increase the pleasure principle in your labor. Chocolate, candles, massage oils, essential oils, access to a bath, comfy pillows… whatever is on your list.
While this might sound too simple to work, you may be surprised to find how effective even “the little things” can be.
For more information about the importance of pleasure during labor, and to actually practice using pleasure to cope, register for a spot in an upcoming series of Prepared for Birth. Engaging, holistic, evidence-based childbirth education really brings together all the pieces of the puzzle.
In the meantime, stay tuned for Part Two in this series to learn more about preparing to enjoy your birth!